I used to sit and eavesdrop on my aunts as they prepared the food for huge family parties and washed and dried the dishes in the kitchen. Coming from a large and diverse extended family, I grew up with fifteen aunts and uncles and their spouses; I have twenty-seven first cousins and hundreds of second and third cousins, once and twice removed. Early on I learned that each of us has a story worth telling and for years I’ve been writing fictionalized versions of them. Some of these stories have been published, in print and on line. Others are still making the rounds.
Over time I realized that linking these stories together will produce a picture—a fictionalized biography of sorts—of an extended family: stories about mothers, daughters, sons, about aunts and uncles and cousins and the ways they interact, learn from each other and repeat or avoid the struggles and consequences from one generation to another. I am now doing just that.
During the next months I’ll be posting my progress here, on Florence’s blog. If you’re writing a memoir or a fictionalized version of one, follow along with me, comment on the process, challenge me with questions. I’m learning how to do it, and you can too.